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Making the Move in to Financial Services as a Newly Qualified Accountant

25 Aug 2016

Grace Caraher

So you are a newly qualified accountant and are wondering what your future holds. The first job you move into following your qualification is crucial, therefore it is wise to ensure you are well informed about the options available to you.

Regardless of the specific area you trained in, as a qualified accountant you have the skills and knowledge to move across sectors. The fast paced and highly competitive financial services industry continues to be an attractive career path as it covers a vast array of niche areas. With over 450 international financial services companies operating within Dublin’s IFSC alone and with many more located across the country, in areas such as Kilkenny, Wexford and Limerick, there are a wide range of opportunities in a variety of different roles. The implications of Brexit are not yet fully visible but it could lead to good things for Ireland and a wider choice of jobs.

Below we have outlined some hot areas including banking, insurance, funds, asset management, aircraft leasing and corporate finance where our clients - ranging from multinational to SMEs, seeking highly skilled newly qualified accountants.

Insurance
The insurance sector in Ireland has grown over the past number of years and is continuing to grow with many leading insurance companies relocating their European headquarters to Ireland. Opportunities for newly qualified accountants are generally in financial accounting or management reporting. Companies are looking for candidates with knowledge of SOX compliance and solvency II exposure.

Corporate Finance
Corporate finance is a highly desirable career path for newly qualified accountants as they obtain exposure to senior decision makers and high profile firms. This area is highly competitive and can be difficult to transition into if you are not coming from a corporate finance background. Companies seek excellent academics with 1st class honors degree and strong exposure in private equity or investment banking.

Banking
Although the banking sector has undergone a difficult number of years there has been growth in the areas of internal audit and regulatory accounting. Opportunities for newly qualified accountants tend to be in internal audit, financial accounting and regulatory or financial reporting. Skills sought after in all areas include:

  • ACA, ACCA, CIMA qualified with first time passes in exams
  • Audit within financial services
  • Strong technical accounting knowledge - IFRS, US, UK Irish GAAP
  • Analytical skills

Aviation 
Aviation is becoming one the hot career paths for newly qualified accountants. In 2014 Ireland accounted for 21% of the global growth in the sector and is the hub for a number of large players in the industry. Aviation is a highly sought after area in financial services where you can develop a hugely successful career. The aviation industry provides exposure to the finance, commerce and statistics. The typical requirements can include exposure to aviation leasing, audit and investments.

Funds
Funds has become one the biggest players in creating buzz in financial services. This is another growing sector over the last 24 months, where the newly qualified have broken out in areas such as investments, private equity and hedge funds. There has been huge growth over the past number of years with a large number of US fund companies setting up their own centres of excellence. The requirements for a newly qualified accountant is exposure to funds audit, funds accounting or reporting and any knowledge of SPV’s.

Asset Management
Asset management is still in the infancy stage. Many of the leading companies are based in London, New York and Tokyo, however many major companies have begun setting up their European headquarters in Dublin. This is an area of growth with many options available when deciding the direction to take your career. Within asset management skills are developed in the following careers; asset manager, portfolio management, investment management or analysts. This industry for a newly qualified accountant is more financial reporting and technical skills. Skills sought after in all areas include:

  • ACA, ACCA, CIMA qualified with first time passes in exams
  • Audit within Financial Services
  • Strong technical accounting knowledge - IFRS, US, UK Irish GAAP
  • Analytical skills

Financial services has huge career prospects in the development of your career after you become a qualified accountant. Brexit can only be only seen as a good thing for Ireland in the creation of new opportunities.

Brightwater are delighted to bring you a wide range of opportunities when entering into a career in financial services. For more details please contact Grace Caraher on (01) 662 1000 or email g.caraher@brightwater.ie for all accounting positions within financial services.